CAYIN IDAC-6 & IHA $999 EACH – REVIEW

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“It may lack some of the micro detail prowess of the ESS flavored DACs but if you want something a little punchier then the iDAC-6 will give you that. A good example is the voicing when switching from the Oppo Sonica DAC to the iDAC-6 using the iHA-6 amp. I get a more euphoric but slightly edgier and less refined timbre with the iDAC-6. Technically, the Sonica is thus the more accurate for my money but the iDAC-6 is the more engaging and dynamic of the two for vocals so I tend to get more personal pleasure from the iDAC-6 performance with the right amp pairing.”

Essence HDACC $500 Review

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” Using the HD800 from the HDACC with ohm setting to 300-ohms the difference was palatable also. With the Flac recording via USB Katherine’s vocals fell back a bit into the orchestra and lost a little in body. Switching back to the disk via HDMI immediately the vocals sounded more accurate and life like. Instrumental positioning was not as flat allowing for better spacing and generally an airier feel to the recording.”

Elac Discovery Music Server $1099 Review

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“Upping the ante further to Kubala Sosna’s Expression cables—which retail for twice the price of the Discovery—and now timbre and tone closed the gap to my twice as expensive DAC. This was getting much closer to my reference and suggests to non-audiophiles what makes people audiophiles. It’s a measure of accomplishment, to me at least, that performance with the Discovery so ably distinguished cables. Yes, my more expensive DAC delivered a more realistic timbre, and delivered a high level of detail, gently, sweetly and incisively, as well as deeper bass and higher highs, if you will. But at no point was I suffering with the Discovery in my system.”

Conrad-Johnson • Classic Sixty-Two SE Stereo Amplifier $5750 Review

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“Concerned that I should try a conventional speaker with the Classic Sixty-Two SE, I packed up the amp and took it to Kent Johnson’s house. Kent recently retired from reviewing at Positive Feedback and has a nice listening space featuring Revel F208 speakers driven by Primare electronics fed by an Esoteric universal player. At 250Wpc, the Primare amp has no trouble controlling the Revel’s dual 8″ woofers, but could the Classic Sixty-Two SE keep up? After a brief listening session to acclimate our ears to the sound, we swapped out the Primare for the C-J amp. I knew we wouldn’t have as much ultimate volume moving from 250 watts to 60, but neither of us listen too loudly, so my fears weren’t warranted. I was pleased that the Classic Sixty-Two SE sound was instantly recognizable and similar to my initial reactions after break-in.”

Margules Group U-280sc “Black” Amplifier $10,800 Review

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“As much as I like the “Black” in triode mode one of the amp’s strengths is how good it sounded in the ultra-linear mode. This gives one the opportunity to own a Class A amp that can drive rather inefficient speakers. I should also mention this amp brought out the best of a very good digital source. Some might say that means it is a forgiving amp, but I’d rather say that somehow it lets you hear the best of the source as long as it is a good musical source.”

Tekton Design Brilliance Floorstanding Loudspeaker $3000 Review

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“Within my 6000 cubic foot room I did very well with 18 Class A watts from my SET monoblocks. In a smaller room, 8 Watts from a 300B tube should do quite nicely at reasonable listening levels. The same principle applies to solid state amplifiers if you lean in that direction and to other components in your rig, as well, although I would caution against going cheap at your front end. Everything matters and the affordable price of the Brilliance may leave you with additional funds to improve other areas of your system.”

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